Paul Voosen
Paul Voosen
Dad. Geoscience reporter @ScienceMagazine. Mistrusts narratives; still writes them. Opinions, while rare, are my own. pvoosen@aaas.org / voosen@protonmail.comSource
Washington, DC
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Use of ‘too hot’ climate models exaggerates impacts of global warming

Use of ‘too hot’ climate models exaggerates impacts of global warming

One study suggests Arctic rainfall will become dominant in the 2060s, decades earlier than expected. Another claims air pollution from forest fires in the western United States could triple by 2100. A third says a mass ocean extinction could arrive in just a few centuries. All three studies, published in the past year, rely on projections of the future produced by some of the world’s next-generation climate models. But even the modelmakers acknowledge that many of these models have a glaring problem: predicting a future that gets too hot too fast. Although modelmakers are adapting to this...

May 4
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Ice shelf holding back keystone Antarctic glacier within years of failure

Ice shelf holding back keystone Antarctic glacier within years of failure

An alarming crackup has begun at the foot of Antarctica’s vulnerable Thwaites Glacier, whose meltwater is already responsible for about 4% of global sea level rise. An ice sheet the size of Florida, Thwaites ends its slide into the ocean as a floating ledge of ice 45 kilometers wide. But now, this ice shelf, riven by newly detected fissures on its surface and underside, is likely to break apart in the next 5 years or so, scientists reported today at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union. The most dramatic sign of impending failure is a set of diagonal fractures that nearly span the...

Dec 15
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How AI detectives are cracking open the black box of deep learning

How AI detectives are cracking open the black box of deep learning

Jason Yosinski sits in a small glass box at Uber’s San Francisco, California, headquarters, pondering the mind of an artificial intelligence. An Uber research scientist, Yosinski is performing a kind of brain surgery on the AI running on his laptop. Like many of the AIs that will soon be powering so much of modern life, including self-driving Uber cars, Yosinski’s program is a deep neural network, with an architecture loosely inspired by the brain. And like the brain, the program is hard to understand from the outside: It’s a black box. This particular AI has been trained, using a vast sum...

July 8, 2017
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